Thursday, 22 September 2011

Little Boxes

Little boxes on my table,
Little boxes made of textile art
Little boxes on my table,
Little boxes all unique,
There's a blue one and a purple one
And a landscape one and another one
And they're all made out of textile art
But they don't look just the same.
(sing to the tune of Little Boxes!)

So yes I have been making little boxes.

I first started making these last year and took a notion to try a few more this week. 

The original inspiration for the one above comes from the Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye on the west coast of Scotland. The clear turquoise water flows straight out of the awe inspiring Cuillin mountains and tumbles downstream through a series of waterfalls and pools. The contrast of the blue water against the rugged shades of the mountain side really caught my eye. I made a wall hanging similar back in April.

This little box below is more a cupboard really. 

It's a totally unique and one off piece. I love to use my embellisher machine to turn a variety of fabrics, yarns and fibres into a sumptuous surface of texture and rich colour. Included in the mix here are voiles, organzas, felting fibres, yarn and devore velvet. I have also included a little angelina fibre here and there for a touch of sparkle.
The box is lined with bright purple felt and closes with voile ribbon ties. 

You know how the creative process takes you from one idea to the next.......
well I wondered how one of my felt landscapes would look turned into a box and filled with a selection of my printed cards.

This is a prototype and not available as yet.

For the lining I have used some of the Harris tweed that I bought from the weaver at Carloway on our trip to the Outer Hebrides in August.

I think I'll make the next one with the landscape horizontal.

Below is one I made last year with a little matching book inside. 
Perfect for keep sakes and secrets.

And on another note, I had these beautiful floating candles made just for me by
I chose the colour I wanted and the scent, payed by paypal and they arrived well packaged, within the week and are just exactly what I wanted.

Patchouli Floating Candles by Fraoch Highland Inspiration.

The first and second boxes are now available in my Etsy shop

Saturday, 17 September 2011

September Update

As we definitely move into Autumn here in Scotland I am working flat out to keep shops stocked, get felt made and new items thought up.

I bought this brilliant little vintage wash board in The Little Curio Shop in Dunkeld recently. Not only was it irresistibly cute but it helps me with my felt making.

The shop itself is just lovely. Full of vintage and antique finds with lovely scented candles burning. I felt like I'd stepped into the past. 

I have been working on lots of new brooches this month and have some out at a couple of new stockists.
An Cnoc in Crieff 
Room 15 in Oban
Studio 222 in Newburgh

My brooches have been popping up all over the internet too in various Etsy Treasuries and Folksy Features. It's great to have your work chosen for these as not only does it give extra exposure but it's heartening that out of the thousands of photos people upload every day to these sites, someone has spotted some of mine and deemed the items suitable for use in their feature.

Photography is something we all have to work on all of the time. Making and selling your work online is easy but getting your work noticed is another matter. Photography is a whole separate skill and not one that everyone finds easy to master. It has taken me about four years of trial and error to be finally taking photos that I am happier with. They are still not all good and there is always room for improvement. I don't have a great camera or a light box or even a day light bulb but I try my best with what I do have.

I entered this photo into the Craft Blog UK August Photo Competition and I'm delighted to say that I won! Along with a beautiful photo taken by Kiki's Umbrella, a wonderful maker of silver jewellery. 

Below are some more of my new textile rings.

I have some available in both my Etsy and Folksy Shops.

These are all truly Hebridean inspired with their shimmering turquoise sea colours.

I haven't forgotten our Hebridean adventure and all the inspiration gathered, I just haven't had time to do much with my ideas. I do plan on making some new seascapes but I have had commission pieces to work on as well as new stock for shops.

I do have lots of landscapes made though. None of them are available online yet but if you would like to know what's available just drop me a line

September Cottage

And as if that's not enough to be getting on with I got my new harp strung! I sold the last one in April and couldn't get the strings on this until I had at least painted the base coat. I do plan to decorate it further but at least I can play it now the strings are on.
The harps are available from my friend Ian for £150 assembled and painted with a plain base coat. 

Regular visitors to my blog will remember Mr Fox that we found and rescued from the woods.

Well, what an adventure he has had over the summer!

He stowed away with us on holiday!

Seems like he fancied a Hebridean adventure as well. Here he is on the ferry from Mallaig with the Isle on Eigg in the background.

I have to say he was very well behaved. He made a few friends in the Tweed Shop in Tarbert.

I did have to stop him from eating all the chocolate though.
He and my little girl did a great job of looking so cute that the shop assistant actually bought them a bag of locally made tablet! Hyper children and foxes on ferries with mummies that feel seasick.....hmmm. Just as well dad has good sea legs!

When we took him back to Muddy Boots Farm Shop and Cafe for the craft fair in August, we were really sad at the thought of giving him back. However Trina and Paddy were more than delighted for my daughter to keep him as they think he has found a nice new home : )
His name is now Foxee, that's how my little girl spells Foxy. Cute.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Just Call Me Bo Peep

There have been flocks of sheep packing their bags and heading off all over the world from here this week.
It's funny but I hardly ever used to get orders from Australia but recently I've had about six! I love to think of my sheep going off to bask in the sun. The Scottish weather is certainly enough to send anyone packing. 2nd of September and the thermostat here in the cottage says 'Cool-Turn Heating Up'. The heating isn't actually on yet so it's extra jumpers for me today...... and plenty of comforting cups of tea!

So here are some new sheepy makes available now in my online shops. Most of my items have been going into my Etsy shop but I will be restocking my Folksy shop this month as well. I think I have said that a few times recently but life is just so busy!

 I'll be continuing to make more sheep pendants including ones with green apple trees and maybe a few in Autumn shades.

The bookmarks sold out both online and through my stockists so I have been busy making more. A few will be heading up to Starfish Studio in time for the North East Open Studios which runs from Saturday 10th to Sunday 18th September.

Perthshire Open Studios starts tomorrow with a vast array of Artists and Makers participating. You can find my new printed cards at An Cnoc, a lovely little shop in Crieff. (Links to websites at the end of this post.)
I'm not sure how many studios we will get round but I really hope to visit Eileen at It's Only Natural, Balhornie Cottage, Cargill.
Eileen makes the most delectable Organic Soaps and Creams as well as other crafts. I LOVE her patchouli soap. Not only can you see around Eileen's workshop but you can blend your own unique oils, make a gift box, or ribbon wreath. It all sounds like good fun to me!

I've had a few commissions to work on recently too.
This is a pendant piece to go with a cuff I sold a few months ago. 


 I also had a commission to make a cuff. Woodland browns and greens was the brief. 
I put a shade chart together for the customer and she chose the combination she preferred.

And here is the result. Woodland greens on a deep earth brown background.
The button is  carved wood and came from my own collection of vintage and second hand buttons. There was only one of it so this cuff is even more unique.

I liked the piece middle top on the chart so I made it up and found this toning button in a rich chestnut brown to finish it off.


available in my Etsy Shop.

More news is that I will be exhibiting at The Handmade Show in Perth Concert Hall on Sunday November the 6th.

The Handmade Show showcases the talent of designer-makers from Scotland and beyond in a wide range of arts and crafts disciplines.
I will have a full range of textile art and craft with me and hopefully some brand new designs as well.

And on a completely different note, look what my lovely husband made!

He has been making bread using the bread machine for a while now but while I was looking through a book called 'Super Foods For Kids', racking my brains for good ideas for healthy packed lunches and snacks, I found a quick recipe for bread made by hand.
David had a go but it came out rather heavy and a bit on the damp side within. The crust was delicious though.
For his second attempt we dug out an old Delia Smith book and the result was fantastic!
Our bread tin was a bit small for her recipe so he just cut a bit off the dough and baked it separately. He is so pleased with himself and we are all delighted with him too.
Only problem is that fresh baked bread is irresistible!

For more info on some of the above topics click the links below.

All contributed content © Aileen Clarke